Melvin Guillard is expected to return to the squared circle for BKFC later this month.
On October 15th, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship heads to 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado for BKFC 31. The former UFC fighter is expected to face newcomer Evgeny Kurdanov who claims to be 4-0 in bare-knuckle competition. With his last victory coming under the BKFC banner in 2017, Melvin Guillard is riding a brutal seven-fight losing streak with five of the seven coming by way of knockout. In his most recent appearance for the promotion, ‘The Young Assassin’ suffered an especially heinous 59-second knockout loss to Joe Riggs.
Four months after the loss to Riggs, Guillard was slated to face Ulysses Diaz at a Bare Knuckle event in Florida. The fight never happened as the Florida Athletic Commission along with the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports blocked Melvin Guillard from competing at the event.
“After doing due diligence, the executive director Patrick Cunningham found a serious concern with the health of Melvin Guillard,” read a statement from ABC.
The association also placed Guillard under suspension pending a neurological exam, though it now appears that the suspension has been lifted with no explanation provided.
BKFC And Their Shady History of Booking Bad Fighters
After it was announced that Melvin Guillard was barred from competing last year, many fans rejoiced as the BKFC has been accused of putting fighters in danger by booking them in fights that they frankly have no business being in. The biggest example of this is the tragic case of Justin Thornton.
Thornton made his BKFC debut in October 2021 against Dillon Cleckler. Entering the bout, Thornton was riding a five-fight losing streak, all first-round stoppages. Against Cleckler, history repeated itself as Thornton was KO’d just 19-seconds into the bout. As Thornton hit the canvas, he came down head first, immediately paralyzing the 38-year-old. Thornton remained in the hospital for several weeks while partially paralyzed and fighting a spinal cord infection. Less than two months after the fight, he succumbed to his injuries.
You could certainly argue that the injury and subsequent passing were a result of the way Thornton fell and not so much the blow he took that initiated it. However, the real question is, why was Justin Thornton in there to begin with? He entered the bout with a 6-17 record with 16 of those losses by knockout or submission. No matter how you argue it, the fact remains that Thornton should have never been booked, especially for something as brutal as bare-knuckle boxing.
It was an irresponsible move by Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and continuing to book fighters like Melvin Guillard is equally irresponsible.